Competition will continue to be keen for jobs on large metropolitan newspapers and broadcast stations and on national magazines. Talented writers who can handle highly specialized scientific or technical subjects have an advantage. Also, more newspapers than ever before are hiring stringers and freelancers.
Most entry-level openings arise on small publications, as reporters and correspondents become editors or reporters on larger publications or leave the field. Small-town and suburban newspapers will continue to offer the most opportunities for persons seeking to enter this field.
Turnover is relatively high in this occupation. Some find the work too stressful and hectic or do not like the lifestyle and transfer to other occupations. Journalism graduates have the background for work in closely related fields such as advertising and public relations, and many take jobs in these fields. Other graduates accept sales, managerial, or other nonmedia positions, because of the difficulty in finding media jobs.
The newspaper and broadcasting industries are sensitive to economic ups and downs because these industries depend on advertising revenue. During recessions, few new reporters are hired; and some reporters lose their jobs.
Salaries for news analysts (newscasters), reporters, and correspondents vary widely but, in general, are relatively high, except at small stations and small publications where salaries are often very low. Median annual earnings of news analysts are approximately $26,470. The middle 50 percent earn between $19,210 and $40,930. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $14,100, and the highest 10 percent earn more than $70,140. Median annual earnings of news analysts in radio and television broadcasting are about $28,500.
Median annual earnings of reporters and correspondents are about $23,400. The middle 50 percent earn between $17,500 and $35,600. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $12,900, and the highest 10 percent earn more than $55,100.
Median annual earnings for writers and editors, including technical writers, are about $36,480. The middle 50 percent earn between $27,030 and $49,380 a year. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $20,920, and the highest 10 percent earn more than $76,660. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of writers and editors of nontechnical material are as follows:
Radio and television broadcasting $26,300
Wire Services And Syndicates
Newspapers subscribe to different wire services (United Press International and the Associated Press are the nations leading wire services) and are able to reprint any stories that are put out over the wire. In recent years, budget cuts and staff reductions have led newspapers to rely more and more on wire service stories, thus creating a demand for more and more stringers, the position most new grads would be eligible for.
Stringers generally work on a part-time basis and are paid for each piece upon its publication. They usually cover the news in a particular geographic location and file their stories with the wire service. Stringers can also work for major newspapers who want a particular geographic area covered, but don't want to pay for a full-time writer outside the office.
Stringers with wire services can go on to become correspondents and bureau chiefs, both at home or abroad, or can use the work as a stepping- stone to full-time employment with a newspaper.
Syndicates provide features, columns, crossword puzzles, and comic strips to newspapers and magazines across the country. There are not that many slots for new writers in this business; to get your material syndicated takes an original idea that is not yet being produced, or being a name writer, such as Dave Barry or Ann Landers. A good way to start is by trying to syndicate yourself. Develop a column idea, submit a proposal and samples to various newspapers, and hope your idea gets picked up. The pay for self-syndication could be as low as $5 for each column; the idea is to sell the same article to as many different papers as possible.
Visit any bookstore or newsstand and you will see hundreds of magazines covering a variety of topics-from sports and cars to fashion and parenting. There are also many you won't see there-the hundreds of trade journals and magazines written for businesses, industries, and professional workers in as many different careers.
These publications all offer information on diverse subjects to their equally diverse readership. They are filled with articles and profiles, interviews and editorials, letters and advice, as well as pages and pages of advertisements.
Whether you work for a magazine full-time, or as an independent freelancer, you will discover that there is no shortage of markets where you can find work or sell your articles.
Positions within magazines are very similar to those found in newspapers.